Dial / April 23, 2013 / $26.00 print, $12.99 digital
Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose during lunch at one of London’s fanciest restaurants. But when his big question involves a trip abroad, not a trip down the aisle, she’s completely crushed. So when Ben, an old flame, calls her out of the blue and reminds Lottie of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. No formal dates—just a quick march to the altar and a honeymoon on Ikonos, the sun-drenched Greek island where they first met years ago.
Their family and friends are horrified. Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, knows that Lottie can be impulsive—but surely this is her worst decision yet. And Ben’s colleague Lorcan fears that this hasty marriage will ruin his friend’s career. To keep Lottie and Ben from making a terrible mistake, Fliss concocts an elaborate scheme to sabotage their wedding night. As she and Lorcan jet off to Ikonos in pursuit, Lottie and Ben are in for a honeymoon to remember, for better . . . or worse.
It is not often that a book comes with a Public Service Announcement, but Sophie Kinsella's Wedding Night does: DO NOT read this book late at night with a sleeping partner beside you, because if you do, you will have to listen to morning complaints about how your suppressed snorts and cackles kept them awake.
Told in the first person, Wedding Night alternates between the points of view of Charlotte (“Lottie”) and Felicity (“Fliss“), two sisters who have had a bit of bad luck in the romance department.
Lottie is dealing with the proposal that never happened. Her boyfriend Richard is not subtle, broadcasting his surprises well in advance. Like on her last birthday, he hinted that his present was going to be a special trip, so when he tells her that he wants to have a special lunch with her, asks if she likes his surname and then refers to a “big question,” she just knows that he is going to propose.
“Shall we get some champagne,” he adds?
I can’t help giving him a knowing smile. “Wouldn’t that be a little premature, do you think?”
“Well, that depends.” He raises his eyebrows. “You tell me.”
The subtext is so obvious, I don’t know whether I want to laugh or hug him.
Well in that case . . . I pause a delicious length of time ekeing it out for both of us. “Yes, my answer would be yes.”
Except it is not a proposal. Anger and embarrassment and pride cause Lottie to break off the relationship. Now Fliss is dreading the next step—something she calls “Lottie’s Unfortunate Choices.” After previous breaks-ups, Lottie went off the rails with her rebound actions, like getting a tattoo, chopping off all her hair, and purchasing an exorbitantly-priced flat, which she then had to sell at a loss. She even joined a cult and had an “intimate piercing,” which turned septic.
Fliss, as big sister and surrogate mother, has always tried to be there for Lottie, but she is not without her own problems. She is divorced, but the property settlement hasn’t been signed off on, and since she and Daniel have a son together, she still has to interact with him. Barnaby, her divorce attorney, has to frequently remind her that the Divorce Fantasy is not real:
“The judge will never read a 200 page dossier on Daniel’s shortcomings aloud in court, while a crowd jeers at your ex-husband. He will never start his summing up with Ms. Graveney, you are a saint to have put up with such an evil scumbag, and I thus award you everything you want.
“Daniel will never admit to being wrong,” Barnaby presses on relentlessly. “He’ll never stand in front of the judge, weeping and saying “Fliss, please forgive me.” The papers will never report your divorce with the headline “Total shit admits full shittiness in court.”
When Fliss returns after a two week business trip, she discovers Lottie’s Unfortunate Choice has already occurred. She is engaged, but not to Richard, but to Ben, a former boyfriend from fifteen years ago. Fliss doesn’t want her little sister to have to contend with the mental anguish and heartbreak of a divorce. First she tries to talk sense to Lottie:
“Look, Lottie.” I try a different tack. “I do understand. I know what it’s like. You’re hurt. You’re confused. An old boyfriend comes along out of the blue, of course you’re going to fall into bed with him. It’s natural. But why do you have to get married?”
“You’re wrong,” she retorts with a triumphant look. “You are so, so wrong, Fliss. I didn’t fall into bed with him. And I’m not going to. I’m saving myself for the honeymoon.”
While Wedding Night is a madcap road adventure, providing the reader with plenty of laughs as situational farcical comedic scenarios follow one after another, it also has its insightful moments. One of these is when Lottie shares her story with a group of other women about how she made a difference:
“I went on my gap year,” I repeated, “and my whole life changed. I changed as a person…
“One night there was a fire.” I forced myself back to the present. “It was terrible. The guesthouse was packed with people. I mean, it was a death trap. Everyone came out onto the upstairs verandah, but no-one could get down, everyone was screaming, there weren’t even any fire extinguishers…
“I had a vantage point. I was up in the treehouse. I could see where people should be heading. . . So I took charge. I started directing people. I had to yell to be heard, and wave my arms, and jump up and down like a mad thing, but finally someone noticed, and then they all listened. They followed my instructions. . . It was the first time in my life that I realized I could be a leader. I could make a difference.”
On this crazy adventure, both Lottie and Fliss believing that they know all there is about life and love, discover that there some past experiences you take with you into the future, and others that you have to just chalk up to experience, and then let go.
Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Sophie Kinsella's Wedding Night before its April 23 release:
Leigh Davis, Blogger